crack sales and compost

Yesterday was a good day. It was, uncharacteristically, a day without what I would consider real work. There was lawn mowing, buying vegetable plants, grocery shopping, gardening, playing with the dog, watching movies and cooking steaks on the grill. Theres wasnt, however, e-mail, preparation for the next workweek or Blogging. On one level, I would consider it an absolute failure. On another, I would consider it quite wonderful.

Yesterday evening, as Linette and I were enjoying our time in the backyard, putting our fragile, little broccoli and cauliflower plants into the newly turned soil, we heard an interesting conversation taking place about ten feet away from us, in the alleyway that runs behind our hundred year old home.

We could hear their voices approaching us. There was a woman who wanted a twenty dollar rock. She was concerned, however, that she didnt have a pipe. The man was telling her not to worry about it.

They got to the corner of our yard, just a few feet away from us, and stopped. There were right in plain sight of us, but they couldnt see us, as we were on our hands as knees and they had other things on their minds. They continued their conversation.

It was agreed that she would buy the $20-worth of crack from the man and that he would provide the pipe. It was also agreed where they would go to smoke it.

After about three minutes of discussing it, they left.

The man looked like a skinny Bernie Mack. The woman looked like a young, haggard Edna Garrett (if shed gone into prostitution instead of running a dormitory at an exclusive girls boarding school). He was wearing parachute pants. She was wearing sweat pants. They both had on dirty windbreakers.

It was weird. There Linette and I were, the young, somewhat-professional homeowners, on our knees, planting broccoli in a bed of rich, black dirt wed taken from our compost pile, while just a few feet away, absolutely oblivious to our presence, these people went on and on concerning their transaction. I was somewhat surprised by how much it resembled the crack deals you see acted out on television. There was paranoia, lots of nervous energy, and everything was repeated over and over again. It was like both people were having conversations with themselves. The woman kept saying, Ive got $20. I want a $20 rock. When she wasnt saying that she was saying, I dont have a pipe. Where are we going to smoke it? I cant remember the specifics of what the man said, but they only overlapped a bit with what the woman was saying. He did say, I can get a pipe, a few times though. On that point, on the pipe, they were conversing.

The juxtaposition of Linette and I there, planting our anti-carcinogenic salad-fixins while these other two people went about the business of destroying their own lives, was very strange. While they both looked quite a bit older, we were probably all close to the same age. It made me feel incredibly sad for them. That sadness, however, didnt last long. It soon gave way to nervousness as I began to thing that they could perhaps one day drop drugs onto our property, which could then be absorbed by the roots of our tomato plants. I had a little panic attack when it occurred to me that I might one morning for breakfast bight into a crack tomato. I envisioned becoming addicted and losing my job. These thoughts kept me from feeling too sorry for the people negotiating above us.

It also occurred to me that I should call the cops. The houses on either side of ours have been broken into over the course of the past year and its likely that local drug sales play a part. (Plus, Im tired of picking up the little, green ziplock baggies that drugs are sold in from my yard.) But I didnt think theyd get there in time. I also debated whether or no I should stand up and talk to them, perhaps ask them to go sell/buy/smoke their crack somewhere else. As I was debating, however, they decided to move down the alley.

From what I hear, theres also a bit of prostitution that goes on in that alley. The owner of the empty house behind ours told us some time ago that she had to shovel out the used condoms that had accumulated on the porch of the house. Apparently, the women take their Johns there after picking them up around the neighborhood. Linette and I have only witnessed prostitutes on a few occasions, strolling in front of our house. We suspect they usually come out like the mice and cockroaches, well after were asleep.

I had the thought this morning that it would be neat to put a motion sensing camera and tape recorder in the alley, letting them run from midnight to 4:00 AM every night. I thought that I could post the captured images and the conversations here. Of course, I will never get around to it. I just thought that Id mention it though.

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